Mariner’s Launch

Book review

Mariner’s Launch

by Ray Solley

This book is interesting because although it probably is an almost first hand

account of the author’s early sea going career through apprenticeship to

obtaining his 2nd Mate’s certificate, it has been written in the manner of a

novel thus enabling personalities and events to be portrayed without risk of

recognition. The book is therefore an authentic account of a schoolboy

leaving home to nautical college and embarking on an apprenticeship in the

Merchant Navy in the 1950’s. It is a light hearted and well written account

of life at sea at a time when the British merchant navy dominated the word’s

oceans and ports. The ships are brought to life and the daily life of an

apprentice on board a traditional cargo ship bristling with derricks and

their associated high maintenance hoists, guys, preventers, blocks, shackles

etc. will be familiar to all those of us who were fortunate to have served

on board such ships. With a large compliment of officers and crew such

ships ran to a leisurely schedule and again the characters encountered will

be familiar. Cargo handling in port gave plenty of time off to enjoy the

local sights, local (sometimes dubious) establishments and generally to

relax and to set up practical jokes with rival shipping companies. The 181

pages contain many black and white photographs from various

companies and colleges depicting the life of an apprentice learning the

various aspects of a career in the Merchant Navy. Excellent nostalgia.

Whittles Publishing

Mariner’s Launch ISBN 1-904445-03-9 Price: £16.95


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